A smart card is a device with size and appearance like a credit card. It is made in plastic and is fixed with an embedded Integrated Circuit (IC) chip. The IC chip enables the storage and processing of information and transactions. Smart cards are chips capable of having the following functions:
Memory cards, which merely store data and have no data processing capabilities.
Hardwired Logic, Intelligent Memory cards, which contain simple Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC), usually used to control the access to the memory of the card.
Microprocessor cards, which contain a microprocessor to execute a program stored inside the same silicon chip and can make decisions based on external input. Microprocessor cards are true smart cards which are used in banking, finance and other applications where high security is essential. Very often the data processing power is used to encrypt/decrypt data, which makes this type of card most appropriate for application requiring security features.